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Harry McShane: 1908

Harry McShane: 1908

Harry McShane, 134 Broadway, Cincinnati. Sixteen years of age on June 29, 1908. Had his left arm pulled off near shoulder, and right leg broken through kneecap by being caught on belt of a machine in Spring Works factory [below] in May 1908. Had been working there more than 2 years. Was on his feet for first time after the accident the day this photo was taken. No attention was paid by employers to the boy either at hospital or home according to statement of boy's father. No compensation. View full size. Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.


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Harry McShane

This is Joe Manning. The link to my story about Harry has been changed. It is now:

Cincinnati Bottoms

There's an article in today's Cincinnati Enquirer that gives some detail about the history of this area, known as the Bottoms ...

Thanks, Joe

Your research makes this website even more powerful than it would otherwise be.


Joe, your info is amazing. I'm glad he lived a long life.

134 Broadway

134 Broadway is right next to the river, now basically a parking area for the ballpark. An "underpass" as it were. Back then it was probably shantytown or tenements.

Harry McShane

This is Joe Manning again, from the Lewis Hine Project. I finally caught up with Harry. He died in Cincinnati one month short of his 86th birthday. Despite his injuries and disability, he worked for the railroad for many years. See the details at

Thanks Joe

Thank you we really do care

Amen to that!

Thanks, Joe!

Attn: Joe Manning Re: Harry McShane

I'd just like to thank Joe for all the hard work he's putting into the Lewis Hine Project and for keeping us Shorpy viewers informed about these kids.

Harry McShane

It looks like I spoke too soon, and the mystery deepens. This is Joe Manning again from the Lewis Hine Project. I talked to the granddaughter of the McShane who I appeared to identify as the boy in the photo. She said her grandfather had two arms and it couldn't be him. Well, it looks like she was correct. Looking further, there were two McShane boys who would have been 16 years old in 1908, who lived at 134 Broadway, Cincinnati. One was Henry (Harry?) in the 1900 census, father Peter. The other was William in the 1910 census, also father Peter. Both disappear into thin air after that. Could William and Henry (Harry?) have been the same person, or could they have been twins? If twins, could Henry (Harry?) have died between 1908 and 1910? I am going to try to get information from the Cincinnati death records to see if Henry (Harry?) died in the early 1900s. I live in Massachusetts. Anyone out there live near Cincinnati who could go to the vital records office and look it up? The search goes on.

Fate of these people

I sometimes wonder about the fate of some of these people in the pictures. They are/were real people with real lives, loves, happiness, and sadness. They are not just old pictures but windows into the past. It does me good to know that this man lived on and had a life after his misfortune. I love this site!

I know exactly how you feel, Anonymous Tipster.

I thought maybe it was just because I was a history major in college or because my grandmother was Irish and sentimental, but the people I see on Shorpy often cross my mind during the day at work!

Often, it's thankfulness that the 11-14 year-olds I see are on my school campus, not working in a mine or on a loom or on an Ohio machine that could rip an arm off.

And more recently, it's been a reality check on how tough life was for my grandparents and how I'm going to come through these tough times (am currently in the middle of a divorce) just fine as long as I have my church and the love of my friends and family. Material stuff just does NOT matter if you *make up your mind* to be happy...

Isn't it wonderful how we're all connected? :-)

Thank you

For letting us know. It's odd, but I worry about some of the people I see on here.

Harry McShane

After seeing the photo on this site, I added it to my Lewis Hine Project and did some quick research. I found him in the 1910 census, and then found some other stuff. He's not the Harry McShane in Texas. He lived nearly all his life in Ohio, and he died in Ohio in 1982, at the age of 88. He got married and had at least one child. More on this later.

Oh, I hope it's THAT Harry McShane...

...because it would mean he lived a long life (94!), and it was a happy one, too (got to live in Texas!).


P.S. Don't get any ideas of moving here like Harry. We're full...

This Harry McShane?

I wonder if it's the Harry McShane that was born Dec 12, 1891 (the age would be right) and died April 1986 at the age of 94 in Dallas, TX.

There are child workers all

There are child workers all over the world in factories, mines and other types of exploitaion exist also. And we continue to support this by buying stuff from those countries. Look at your monitor/mouse/keyboard tag. Does it read 'Made in China'?

Brave smile

That brave smile inclines me to think he had the resources for a happy life. I hope it was a long life, too.

Not Capitalism, Unrestricted Capitalism

If you want an explanation of why this sort of thing doesn't happen in North America today thank unions that fought for better working conditions and legislators who pushed through laws that restricted child labour and unsafe conditions. And oh yeah, wages for workers that meant that children didn't have to go to work at 14 or younger so that the family wasn't out on the streets. It isn't a failure of capitalism; what it is is a hallmark of unrestricted capitalism.

Horrible & sad

How sad and terrible it is to think that the employees didn't even care for the boy. I'm glad I work in a good caring company as all other companies and their employees care and watch out for each other. Good old days? I think not.


sad, but how brave the boy was! such bravery. i want to be like him, unafraid to take a picture after such an incident. we also know the exact time the picture was taken: 2:20


What a horrible tragedy. Without wading into the capitalism/communist debate, I'll just say that it is very telling that the employers wanted nothing to do with him after the accident. I wonder if he or his father ever pursued a legal course of action against the employer...

Also, after enduring such an injury in 1908, it's amazing that he is up the next month. Even today, such an injury could be fatal because of blood loss.


OK, well today the same

OK, well today the same thing happens, except the kids so injured are working in Red China. Is that a failure of Communism, then?

The Chinese gave up on Communism years ago, in all but name. They're now authoritarian capitalists. So it's just another failure of way-too-laissez-faire capitalism, to be added to the list of poisoned cat food, toys with lead paint, etc.

We used to think that democracy and capitalism were opposite sides of the same coin. No longer. It'll be mighty interesting to see what happens now.

Capitalism failure?

The company I work for opened a factory in china last year. I have heard so many stories of how bad things are there for the average factory worker. We have it made here compared to the Chinese. The country is filthy and the air is dirty. The water is not suitable for drinking in many areas. We have had several employees come back sick. Be thankful for living in the USA. We need to be careful to protect what we have earned.

capitalism failure?

OK, well today the same thing happens, except the kids so injured are working in Red China. Is that a failure of Communism, then?

failure of capitalism

Now THERE is a failure of capitalism. Someone was saying the other day here that a kid working as a messenger boy was a failure of capitalism. No, this here is a failure.

Geez. I suppose there are kids we'll never see pictures of because they were killed and not merely injured.


Yeah, wow. In today's world he would've gotten a crapload of money from the employers.



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